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Is Lane Splitting Considered a Traffic Violation in Illinois?

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Joliet, IL traffic violations attorney lane splitting

Motorcyclists define “lane splitting” as passing other vehicles -- whether moving or stationary -- on the left and the right simultaneously. This action puts the motorcycle between two lanes, hence the term. This can be dangerous to the motorcyclist as well as other drivers. Currently, California is the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane split. In Illinois, the action is classified as a traffic violation, and it could lead to misdemeanor or even felony charges if the action causes a serious collision.

Why Is Lane Splitting Illegal in Illinois?

Motorcycles are often more difficult to see on the road because they are smaller vehicles. If motorcyclists are lane splitting, they run the risk of causing an accident with injuries, because the drivers around them may not notice them and could possibly:

  • Change lanes suddenly

  • If stationary, open a car door to exit the car

  • Reach a hand or arm out of a car’s open window

  • Throw something out of a car’s open window

  • Merge from a closed lane into an open lane without knowing there is not enough room

If a motorcyclist is injured during an act of lane splitting, he or she will not only be unable to petition for compensation for any injuries, but he or she may also be held responsible for the collision. A motorcyclist can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for any accident that does not result in bodily harm to another person. The charges are elevated to a Class 3 felony if the act of lane splitting causes an accident that leaves another person with a bodily injury.

How a Motorcyclist Can Avoid Injury on the Road

Lane splitting may be illegal in Illinois, but motorcyclists have certain rights on the road that protect them from blame if a collision occurs. To maintain their own safety while traveling, motorcyclists should keep to a safe lane position. Just like a car, a motorcycle needs plenty of room to travel, and riders should stay in the center of the lane to avoid cars trying to squeeze past in the same lane. Staying in the proper position within a lane can help the motorcyclist:

  • Have a better line-of-sight to be aware of frontward obstacles

  • Have confidence in his or her space knowing that cars do not have enough room to illegally pass

  • Not be hidden within drivers' blind spots

  • Avoid wind blasts from other vehicles

Unfortunately, people become angry in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and it is then that a vehicle driver may attempt to illegally pass a motorcyclist. If a collision occurs when a motorcyclist is in the correct position within a lane, the driver of the car can be considered the at-fault party and therefore responsible for paying compensation for any damages suffered by the motorcyclist or anyone else involved in the collision.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney 

Motorcyclists who are charged with a lane-splitting traffic violation can face stiff punishments in Illinois. The knowledgeable lawyers from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. have extensive experience in building strong defenses to avoid costly fines and jail time. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges related to any type of traffic violation, it is important to speak with our skilled Will County traffic violations lawyers. Call our office today at 815-666-1285 to schedule your free consultation.




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